The Consul at Tsinan ( Allison ) to the Ambassador in China ( Johnson )56

No. 1

Sir: I have the honor to refer to an interview with Han Fu-chu, accredited to Domei, Japanese official news agency, published in the North China Daily News for October 30, 1936, and to report that General Han has personally confirmed this interview and that he stated the version published in the above mentioned newspaper was a good translation of remarks made by him to a group of Japanese newspaper men brought to see him by a representative of the local Japanese Consulate General.

In this interview, a copy of which is enclosed,55 General Han said [Page 372] that a war between China and Japan would be one of attrition with both countries emerging from the struggle in a weakened condition. He stressed the point that events happening within the Great Wall have a much greater significance to the Chinese than affairs in Manchuria, and that if Japan should use force in Hopei or Shantung, China will have no alternative but to fight. At the same time he expressed himself as in favor of Sino-Japanese cooperation if such were possible.

In conversation with the writer, General Han amplified this interview somewhat. He said that China did not want to fight and would not do so unless compelled, but that the patience of the people was almost exhausted and that if Japan continued its policy of aggression he could see no alternative. When asked whether the display of national unity made at the Hangchow conference recently and the military preparations known being made throughout the country, together with the fact that Japan has not as yet made any active step toward using force to gain her ends, might not indicate that Japan would be willing to reach a compromise of some sort, General Han shook his head. He said he believed the present period of negotiation and peaceful activity on the part of Japan could not last and that there was definite trouble ahead. He indicated that preparations were being made for any eventualities and that he was wholeheartedly behind the Central Government in whatever might be done. Throughout the interview General Han maintained a very serious attitude and the impression was gained that he was convinced war was the only solution of the present crisis.

Respectfully yours,

John M. Allison
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in China in his despatch No. 833, November 6; received November 30.
  2. Not printed.